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Protection for transgender employees

California offers certain protections to transgender people, but this may not be the case in other states. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is the federal agency that protects workers against discrimination, has said that transgender people are still protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, the Trump administration has indicated it wants to roll back some of these protections, and the EEOC might be under pressure to shift its position as well.

In 2015, an opinion from the Department of Education stated that students must be treated in accord with their gender identity. The following year, both the DOE and the Department of Justice put forth statements that transgender students needed to be allowed to use the locker rooms, bathrooms and other facilities of their choosing. When several states and two school districts filed a lawsuit, an injunction was issued against this requirement. The government responded that the injunction should only apply to the places that had filed a lawsuit. This was withdrawn on Feb. 10 by the Trump administration.

Ultimately, this is an issue that will be clarified through the legal system. On March 6, the U.S. Supreme Court sent back to a lower court a case on this issue. Furthermore, the DOJ and DOE say that students still must be protected from harassment while the EEOC still maintains that sex discrimination laws also extend to protect transgender employees.

People who are facing workplace discrimination on the job might want to discuss their rights with an attorney to make sure they are part of a protected class and that they understand their rights. For transgender people, this might be particularly important since several cases are making their way through the legal system. An attorney may be able to advise the employee on state and federal law and suggest what the next steps should be.

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